CHARLESTON, WV (WOWK) – Juneteenth, also known as Freedom Day or Jubilee Day, is the oldest nationally celebrated commemoration of the ending of slavery in the United States. It is celebrated around the country and now plans are in the works to celebrate Juneteenth in Charleston as well.
“With everything that is going on in the nation, I think this is a great opportunity for the church and the community to come together and show solidarity,” explained Risen City Church’s Pastor Michael Farmer in an interview with 13 News Reporter Lily Bradley.
On Friday, the parking lot of Risen City Church, on Charleston’s West Side, will be turned into the site of the city wide celebration as part of the inaugural “Juneteenth Celebration and Unity Walk.” The Christian Justice Coalition, a ministry of the Resurrection family of churches, is hosting the event.
“In this cultural moment, we thought it was really important for us to emphasize with the pain that our black neighbors are feeling,” Pastor Mason Ballard, Resurrection Church said. “We thought what better way to do that than by celebrating a critical moment in American history and African American history by celebrating Juneteenth and inviting the whole city to be a part of that.”
The event will include fellowship and food from 5 to 6 p.m. Beginning at 6, there will be a time of music led by John Wesley and other presentations from Rev. Ron English, Farmer and Ballard.
People are also invited to participate in a peaceful unity march from Risen City Church to another Juneteenth event being held at Magic Island in downtown Charleston.
“We don’t want this just to be a moment, we want this to be a movement for our community to say how are we going to go from protests and marches to activism within our community,” Farmer said.
Organizers are simply asking people that are interested in attending to RSVP on the event’s Facebook page. They are also encouraging everyone to wear face masks.
This comes as the Huntington City Council will be called into a special meeting Wednesday to consider a proposal to make “Juneteenth” a permanent city holiday.